The Circle (2017): Just Watch “Black Mirror” Instead

      “The Circle” is an unfocused mess full of hack characters and no discernible theme. I hear the book is good so just read the book. I’ll go into why I went from disliking to hating this film in a moment because there is quite a lot to unload on this film, but the biggest parts are that lack of theme, half-formed characters and with all of that, failure to go full ham. If you are going to be cheesy you should bank on it and in doing so create your own form of malformed beauty.

  The film was directed by James Ponsoldt who was also one of the producers, written by Dave Eggers who also wrote the book and produced by Anthony Bregman and Gary Goetzman.

    The story involves Mae (Emma Watson) getting a job at The Circle (A facebookish tech. company) thanks to her friend Annie (Karen Gillan). She soon finds it is not the paradise it seems to be when the public sharing among the circle and constant call for interaction begins to unfold leading to dark consequences.


The Pros: The Concept – The concept is a lot like a “Black Mirror” episode. What happens when social media becomes a society and you are under pressure to reveal your life and what you are doing at all times? I like this concept but this isn’t the focus or the theme of the film, even though the trailers seem to set it up that way.

The Cinematography – The cinematography looks great, there are great uses of shadow and holograms to really illustrate the future. You can tell the director put a lot of love into this film…

The Cons: Hack Characters – Dave Eggars wrote the book, but apparently can’t write screenplays. None of these characters feel fully fleshed out. Mae the main character is almost set up to have a rise to power only to become a reformer…but the reasons with that don’t feel all that explored.

   She has an off the grid ex who is the “hero” of the film, which in turn shuts down her becoming a professional within her own life. He also gets harassed for his antler art? What the hell. He is a paranoid guy in the woods whose paranoia ends up being justified but we never get to know him. He is an idealized version of the off the grid blue collar hero. What the ever living hell…He’s not a character and they turn him into a martyr when people stalk him on a new program and he drives off a bridge. We are told they do things together or did things together, but we never see it. It is all tell and now show. Again, he’s an idea not a character.

Her best friend Annie is rising in the company and disappears. I wanted to see her rise and fall arc. But she is barely around…Same Ty Lafitte…John Boyega’s character who is fighting the Circle and invented another giant tech. media company…and finally Hanks’s Eamon, one of the founders whose agenda is never known and who is only around as a vague threat. These aren’t characters, these are concepts in a terrible script.

Social Media and Tech. Paranoia – We are told to fear tech. (her parents telling her not to trust the Circle and her ex being off the Grid) and we see how it turns her and Annie into monsters at times…but that is also contradicted with the ending. This is a vague theme that exists but doesn’t go anywhere and is never fully explored.

A Missed Corruption Arc – This is a hackneyed script in a hammy story…so knowing this, they should have just made Mae a villain. Her life is public, make her a Trump figure who can lampoon people she talks too and win by being horrible…since we see her do this a few times till “noble” ex gets the axe. I wanted her to take out the owners and gain control of the company. That would have made this film a beautiful disaster that is “So bad it’s good.” Sadly this potential is missed. They should have embraced tech and information as power that corrupts…what a waste.

Lack of any Theme – There is no core theme. There is a vague sense of distrusting smart phones and social media…but Mae makes everything public in the end to take out The Circle’s founders. So, what was the ever living point of this film? If you don’t have a purpose, why were you made? The sad thing is the author of the book was the screenwriter…A writer should know the themes they intend to explore.

  I don’t recommend this garbage. This was a film that could have been “So Bad it’s Good,” if it had been comfortable in tech. and information as corrupting influences of power theme, or it could have gone full revolution and had Boyega, Gillan and Watson team up early to take on the Founders. That’d be asking too much of this film though. This is a film that doesn’t know what it wants and doesn’t have any real characters, jut half formed ideas in a broken mess. Seriously, save your money and watch “Black Mirror,” you’ll get well focused themes of technology fears that have a clear focus in theme and character. This film is one of the worst I’ve watched in quite some time.

Final Score: 3 / 10

Rick and Morty – Season 1, Episode 3 – “Anatomy Park” – Rick Meets “Jurassic Park”


    “Anatomy Park” is a lot of fun as an outright satire but for this reason it doesn’t have the strength of the ones that take inspiration from what they are satirizing but do their own thing. The jokes are still good though and I was entertained and I’ll go into why.

    The story involves Morty going into Rick’s “friend” who he has turned into a theme park full of viruses that has been acting up as there is someone working against the Park. He soon sees the awesomeness and danger of the human body.

The Pros: The Park – The Park is beautiful, dangerous and wonderful…just like “Jurassic Park.” It is very much a theme park full of viruses that can be watched and the viruses are designed to be monsters that take out one another and the environment around them.

Dr. Xenon Bloom – John Oliver does a good job as Bloom and has the naive vision that defines so much of the “Jurassic Park” trope. He risks his life for Morty and Annie and realizes after that he could have saved himself too…but it is too late.

Annie – Annie is the brains who falls for Morty after he saves her a few times. She also has all of Bloom’s training and is made the head of a new Park after the old Park fails. She looks down on Morty at first and reminded me a lot of Hermione in early Hogwarts.

Morty – Morty learns quick and does let go as he fights Poncho when he turns on them as well as fights against viruses too, he is never afraid unlike the scientists around him subverting the weak guy trope.

Rick – Rick’s disregard for life is really key in regards to this episode as he shrinks Annie again so he can get another Park built, the first Park was in a homeless man he had manipulated and he doesn’t mourn any of the deaths that happen…he’s just too disconnected to care.

   The biggest con is the satire is a bit too blatant, but the character relationships work and the jokes do payoff even though it isn’t a great episode it is definitely good. The design of the park and animation of the Park are beautiful. I definitely recommend it.

Final Score: 8.4 / 10